Makutu’s Island to reopen soon - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

Makutu’s Island to reopen soon

New ownership adds half-million in upgrades

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Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 9:45 am

Six months after closing, Makutu’s Island, a large indoor play place for kids, is reopening with new owners, new management and a lot of new magic for families to explore.

Makutu’s Island was originally designed by Disney. The main attraction is a massive four-story plastic tree structure with nine slides, a rope bridge, balconies and tunnels designed for kids to run through and play on.

The business closed in January but has since been purchased by a local family who’ve put in half a million dollars worth of improvements to the facility. They’ve improved safety of the structure; added new attractions, like a bungee jump, zip line and gift shop; added healthy options to the café menu; added technology to the party rooms that allows parents to enjoy free Wi-Fi and even invite out-of-town family members into the party electronically through video conferencing; added more seating areas for parents; and come up with a story line for the four characters around which the business is built.

The owners also plan to bring enrichment classes, like yoga or art, into the facility. They’ve hired a local artist, Joshua Nisley, to add color to the structure, and Nisley will be one of the art instructors.

“These days, I know school is geared more toward just doing the work,” said Kiran Bapatla, co-owner of Makutu’s. “Even recess is being cut off so much. We need to offer that to our children for their development. We thought we would bring that in.”

The owners plan on offering the classes for free on the weekends just to give families a taste for what they are like, but going more in depth in classes during the week.

The new owners, husband and wife Kiran Vedantam and Kiran Bapatla, are both electrical engineers who quit their corporate jobs years ago and went into real estate to spend more time with their children. Vedantam’s real estate team was named the No. 1 real estate team in Arizona with the most transactions in the state. Their success in real estate is what made their purchase of Makutu’s Island possible. With two kids of their own the couple have been customers in the past. They’re excited to bring that perspective to the business.

“We’ve been to a lot of birthday parties,” Vedantam said. “Our kids are this age. I know as a consumer what we want. I don’t know how to run this business but we’ve run other businesses and the opportunity came by. I thought we exactly know how to make it right.”

There is a target date of July 4 for opening. There is a daily entrance fee to enjoy the structure or a membership guests can purchase to come more often. Makutu’s Island also offers birthday parties. The company is hiring.

“It’s a much safer place,” Vedantam said. “There’s a lot of thought that went into the designing. We’re offering healthier choices and education programs. We just want to give a great time to the kids and the parents.”

Makutu’s Island is located at 6919 W. Ray Road in Chandler. For more information, visit www.MakutusIsland.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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